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Zen Path Through Depression - Book Review

By Philip Martin

A compassionate and spiritual Aapproach to rediscovering joy uising easy-to-follow techniques and practical advice, Philip Martin shows you how to ease depression through the spiritual practice of Zen. His lessons, full of gentle guidance and sensitivity, are a product of his experiences in using Zen practices and wisdom to alleviate his own depression.

Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of depression and recommends a meditation or reflection. With these tools, coping with depression becomes a way to mend the spirit while enriching the soul.

The Zen Path through Depression is a practical, clear resource that approaches depression in an entirely new way. Philip Martin tells us that "depression is an illness not just of the body and mind, but also of the heart." The heart, the spirit, is where the key to healing lies. Philip Martin, a psychiatric social worker and a longtime student of Zen, shows us, through the spiritual practice of Zen Buddhism, how we can heal depression and look fearlessly at our lives.

He takes us through the realities of depression, the fears and doubts that are so intrinsic to this condition. We are shown the fundamental choice that we face: Do we run, or do we confront ourselves and our fear directly? In brief, inspiring, and instructive chapters, Martin shows how we can incorporate Zen ideals and practices into our everyday lives. Through a step-by-step recovery process, we are offered true help and guidance by which we are able to discover a new path to health and contentment.

Martin says, “I am a social worker and writer. I’m the author of The Zen Path Through Depression. I’ve been a Zen student for 35 years. I work in a local social service agency as a case manager with adults and kids with mental illness, and I also teach mindfulness and writing classes for adults with mental health problems.

I wrote The Zen Path Through Depression out of my own struggles with depression, and the realization that any spiritual practice, in my case Zen practice, is not limited to certain aspects of our life but can help with any of the challenges we face. And that, as Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through.”

Philip Martin has worked as a psychiatric social worker and case manager for Washington County Community Services in Minnesota for many years. Martin has a degree in Buddhist psychology and is also a workshop leader.

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